Jabbar Shah, 55, is a goat herder from Navada village in Laharpur tehsil of Uttar Pradesh. He rose to limelight after he sold his flock of seven goats to build a toilet for his family.
The man who doesn’t even own a pucca home and lives under a dilapidated thatched-roof hut with his family of six was forced to sell his only source of income.
The reason being the inaction of his village pradhan as well as some district officers, despite several pleas to help him build a toilet.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, he said, “I was ashamed that amidst the rising awareness against open defecation, the women in my household were still going behind the fields to relieve themselves.”
And when the landless labourer’s call for help fell on deaf ears, he refused to give up. He sold off his flock of seven goats for Rs 15,000 and constructed the toilet a fortnight ago.
Jabbar. whose average income is about Rs 100 to Rs 150 per day, sold these goats who not only helped him earn a livelihood but also provided milk to his three grandchildren, who loved them dearly as pets.
While Shah has lost his wife, he lives with his daughter, her husband and their children in the village.
When this crusader’s story gained attention in the local media, he given was given administrative sanctions for the toilet he built. Rs 12,000 was transferred to his account, and his name was also included among the potential beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna. Under this scheme, he would get a pucca home and a ration card too.
He was also given a new flock of seven goats to retain the family’s livelihood.
The Block Development Officer (BDO), Laharpur, Rabia Begum reached Shah’s village and completed the required paperwork.
His story gained momentum once it spread on social media. Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who heard about it asked Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Anand Bhadauria to look into it. On visiting the village and being convinced of Shah’s story, the MLC was asked to buy the goats for the herder.
We salute the attitude of the humble goat herder and hope that he receives all the facilities that have been promised to him.
Crusaders like Jabbar Shah reinstate our faith in the power of the common man to affect change. We hope his story inspires many more people to come forward and fight for the right to a toilet!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Feature Image In-set: Hindustan Times (background) – Flickr